Thursday, November 1, 2012

First Velonotte in New York City, How Did It Go?

At the night of 1-2 October the first academic Velonight (or Velonotte) in New York has started at Guggenheim Museum at 5 Avenue, the famous building created by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1959. From there the route was drawn across all of Manhattan, finishing at the construction site of new World Trade Center downtown.

This was the longest Velonight ever. We have been talking about the most important architectural monuments and cultural icons for almost 6 hours! Four headquarters: UN, Seagram, Lever House and the green atrium of Ford Foundation … We have also biked through key points of cultural and communal life of the city, famous Post-War nightclubs among them. Eyewitnesses have told us about “Studio 54” and David Mancuso’s “The Loft”, the place where clubbing culture first emerged. The heart of the route was Union Square – the epicenter of Andy Warhol’ New York, the place where the famous Factory opened its doors at the end of the sixties. The artist had been living there for almost 20 years.
Velonighters have caught the newest objects as well. Sperone Westwater Gallery (Foster and partners), new SANAA building of New Museum of Contemporary Art  in Bowery and the much-touted redesign of Lincoln Center public space. The irony is that this “area that is just given back to the city” becomes private territory by nightfall. Security demanded that we leave the Plaza.
Nocturnal New York itself was the main protagonist, islands, gaps, rocks, corners, pieces of memories sewn together, evaporating in darkness or suddenly coming to light. The Times Square at 4am was empty but light as day. The dramatic urban landscape was underscored by rain. Constantly drizzling all week long, it poured over velonighters with new-found force. Shaken from inside and out our international group felt united. Russians naturalized and visiting, students and post grad students of Universities of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New York as well as ordinary New-Yorkers in love with their city and its’ history came through with Velonotte, and nothing could stop them.
The concept and scenario of Velonight NY was conceived by Sergey Nikitine with contributions by architects Alexander Neratoff and Peter Eisenman, Professor Ken Jackson (University of Columbia) and Vincencio Perez-Soto.
At the picture from left to right: Sergey Nikitin, Ken Jackson and Alexander Neratoff at the steps of the New York Historical Society. 

Pre-party for Velonight was held in the Storefront for architecture”. The meeting was called “Velonotte miracle”. There we talked about our concept of modern international cultural events. Among speakers were Velonotte’s founder Sergey Nikitin, architect Sergey Tchoban and culture expert Marina Avdonina, who came to New York especially for Velonight.
List of names mentioned during First Velonotte NYC: Ada Louise Huxtable, Aldo Rossi, Andy Warhol, Bette Midler, ColinRowe, David Mancuso, Donald Trump, F.L.Wright, Gordon Bunschaft, Guy Nordenson, I.N.Pay, Jane Jackobs, John D. Rockefeller, Lou Reed, Mies VanDer Rohe, Francois Kevorkian, Norman Foster, Larry Levan, Le Corbusier, Marcel Breur, Nico,Philip Johnson, Phyllis Lambert, Raymond Hood, Renzo Piano, Rem Koolhas, Robert Moses, SOM, Velvet Underground, Wallace Harrison, Walter Gropius, Vyacheslav Glasychev, Constantine Melnikov.

Velonight NY was created by Moskultprog with participation of Elena Siyanko. Special thanks to NY City Hall and NY City Police for understanding and support.
Special thanks to Katya Kolokoltseva, Luba Pronina, George Zavyalov, Marco Brizzi, Lena Golubeva, Sonia Kishkovsky, Natalia Dushkina, Karina Batrakova, Jean-Louis Cohen, Guy Nordenson, Eva Frankl and all our friends for their help in this unforgettable event.
Next Velonotte will happen in Moscow May, 26, 2012. It will be about flora and history of Western Suburbs of our capital. London Velonight will start at midnight July, 23, 2012. It will be dedicated to life and architecture of East End with special focus on modern architecture and Olympic village - a month before London Olympic Games start. The end of the season of 2012 will mark the Saint Petersburg Velonight, where we will speak of Peterhof’s road. As ever, major experts in architecture, art and history will shine a light at Saint Petersburg, London and Moscow. Further details on Velonotti, Velonights and Velonoch's coming up in 2012 are published on
We get frequently asked when is the next NYC Velonight. For now it’s planned for September 2013. The route will be announced later on. Moskultprog has received the invitation to participate in renowned NYC “Five Boroughs” marathon and BikeEXPO organized by Bike NYC in cooperation with New York City Hall.

Hope to see you soon in London, Moscow or... St.Petersburg!
Sergey Nikitin/ Bureau Velonotte
Pictures provided by Moskultprog archive, Vladimir Kalinovsky, Sambadar and Cubetto.

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